There are hundreds of famous restaurants in London – from Michelin-starred extravaganzas to cheap-and-cheerful eateries. Looking for something a little different? Check out these well-known venues for a memorable meal out.
The East End area of Brick Lane is so famous for its Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants that it’s been nicknamed the Curry Mile. However, the UK’s oldest Indian restaurant, Veeraswamy, is situated on Regent Street and has been serving up spicy delights from several different Indian regions since 1926. Awarded a Michelin Star in 2017, it was one of the establishments that sparked Britain’s love affair with curry.
Where: Regent Street, Piccadilly
Fans of cinematic and literary classics, from Alfred Hitchcock to Sherlock Holmes, will recognise the name Simpson’s in the Strand. Founded in 1828, it was originally a well-known chess venue and also received regular visits from famous names such as Dickens, Gladstone and Disraeli. The restaurant serves classic British food, and its Scottish beef is a particular speciality.
Where: The Strand, Charing Cross
Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester serves contemporary French cuisine in exquisite surroundings with a shimmering fibre-optic backdrop. It was awarded three Michelin stars in 2010 and is one of only four UK restaurants with the top rating, making it the perfect location for that special occasion.
Where: Park Lane, Mayfair
Fish and chips is the Londoner’s traditional comfort food of choice. The origins of this much-loved combination are disputed, but the Golden Hind has been serving up golden fish and crunchy chips since 1914; mushy peas are optional. It can get quite busy, so you may need to queue – an opportunity to indulge in another quintessentially British pastime.
The Michelin Bib Gourmand is awarded to restaurants that provide high-quality food and value for money. 2017 winner Bao derives its name from fluffy white steamed buns, gua bao, and its menu is based on Taiwanese street food with inventive twists. Xiao chi (literally, ‘small eats’) also feature heavily; they’re tasty snacks a bit like Asian tapas.
Celebrity haunts come in and out of fashion, but The Ivy has consistently remained a top spot for star-spotters. Founded in 1917, it’s planning a host of special events to celebrate its centenary this year, from the launch of a new cocktail menu to the introduction of ‘Window to the Ivy’, a special stained glass chocolate mousse dessert. Located in the heart of the West End’s theatre district, it’s a favourite haunt for a pre-show meal.
Where: Covent Garden
As a true cosmopolis, London is home to people – and cooks – from all over the world. Roka, a regular foodie favourite, offers award-winning Japanese food for the western palate. Specialising in robatayaki cuisine – literally ‘fireside-cooking’ – the principle dishes originate from Japanese fishermen, who would cook fish on charcoal grills while at sea and share the meal with other boats using their oars.
Where: Charlotte Street, Canary Wharf, Mayfair, Aldwych
The OXO Tower is a much-loved icon and home to a pretty famous restaurant in London. Originally owned by the makers of OXO stock cubes, it was refurbished in the 1990s as a mixture of homes, retail design studios, galleries and eateries. Enjoy a contemporary British menu in a relaxed setting with beautiful views of the river, St Paul’s and the City of London.
This concludes our roundup of famous restaurants in London. Of course, this list includes only a tiny number of the more than 17,000 restaurants you can visit. Take your pick from dozens of national cuisines and many more hybrid menus, as well as 65 Michelin-starred establishments and 15 Michelin Bib Gourmands – not to mention pubs, bars, cafés and more. Hope you’re hungry!